David McLain

Think of me as a partner and collaborator who brings senior-level attention and ideas to the table. Someone who takes the time to understand your non-profit or company, then crafts the visual stories that bring its cause or mission to life. For clients who need a broader offering of services, I co-founded The Collective


Here’s how my process works:

DISCOVERY: It all starts with listening, reading, and thinking in order to understand your goals. This up-front work allows me to generate ideas and tell stories that are anchored in your larger content and brand strategy. 

PRE PRODUCTION: This is the time-consuming, unsexy work that must get done before you ever step on an airplane. It’s like a dark art. Done well, it puts you in the right settings with the right subjects in the right light – every time. 

FIELDWORK: Sometimes you need a big team; other times you need the smallest possible footprint. I’m comfortable with a range of production models and always staff a job using these criteria: what’s best for this particular client, idea, and budget. The process of turning an idea into a well-crafted image or video is not linear. It thrives at the intersection of planning and improvisation.Telling stories about real people adds another layer of complexity. It requires you to quickly build rapport with strangers and get them to open up and share what’s on their minds and in their hearts. This talent was honed as a photographer for National Geographic magazine for nearly a decade. It’s impossible to fake and is my secret sauce.

POST PRODUCTION: Collaboration and long-standing relationships are the magic behind the best creative work. I have the right relationships with editors, composers, audio engineers, colorists, and crew and can run any video project from concept to final deliverables.

DISTRIBUTION: I spend a lot of time thinking about how to generate content that is purpose-built to feed multiple channels: web, social, digital media, print collateral, trade shows, investor meetings, and more. If you need help with specific distribution strategies visit the collective.

I've spent my life learning how to tell visual stories and deeply believe in their power to move people and cut through the clutter. The best work is the simplest, and simple is always the hardest thing to do. It’s the mark of someone who has mastered their craft. This is work I strive to do.



    • Still photography
    • Image libraries 
    • Directing
    • Cinematography 
    • Long and short form video
    • Feature documentaries
    • Video editing 
    • Full suite of post-production services